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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Heart Vignettes

Dear Friends,

Parshat Tetzaveh is another fascinating parsha; one that describes the clothing of the high priest. Again, as with the building directions of the Mishkan, the writing is detailed, colorful and crisp. Aaron, one of my favorite characters in Torah, wears a breastplate on his chest with twelve jewels, one for each tribe. In addition to the other articles of clothing that he wears, this one must have been both colorful and weighty. That jewel embossed breastplate carried important messages for Aaron; that he would not forget God, that he would not forget himself or the people he represented. Clothing is a good reminder of who we can be. and more importantly, what we represent. It provides us with an identity, but clothing cannot cover character. It cannot change who we are. It cannot change our hearts.


  1. ET


long ago

in a film

from the land of Hollywood

came ET,

the little alien

from so far away,

who showed his love

with his heart

that thumped

beneath his wrinkled

and greenish skin.

His heart glowed red;

beating and pulsating

in his chest

with love, with life.

ET extended

His impossibly long fingers

to his friend.

He shared his knowledge,

his love

and he left.

He left behind

the glow of his heart.

His goodness

stayed long after he was gone.

2. The Tin Man

Once there was a man

who wore a suit of tin

over what he thought

was a body devoid

of a heart.

It took a young girl

with guts and gumption

to bring the gift

of a mechanical heart

to help him believe

that he mattered

and that his tin skin

protected the Goodness

that was there all along.

3. The Woman With a Tatoo

Once there was a woman

who had a tattoo on her arm.

She did not ask for it

but it was hers nevertheless.

The man who gave it to her

had no generosity of spirit.

He wore a crisp uniform

of woven wool

and shiny black boots

and he carried a whip.

Sometimes attire covers

a beating red heart


sometimes it covers

a pit of darkness.

4. The King Who Wore No Clothes

Once there was a king

who wore no clothes at all

but insisted he was grand.

He walked about

as naked as the day he was born

but insisted that

his imagined robes,

made him royalty;

important, indeed.

No clothes,

just hanging flesh and bones

and a heart

swollen with pride,

but not much else.

5. Aaron The Priest

Once, many years ago

in a windy desert

there was man,

a special man

who spoke well.

Aaron was his name.

He was a brother

and a father.

He carried the weight

of a nation

on his very human chest.

Twelve heavy jewels

covered his good

and very human heart.

Following his heart,

he pursued peace.

Despite wearing clothing

designed by God

he was not protected

from heartache.

And one day

when he left this world

he left behind

the glow of his heart,

his good will.

His goodness,

remembered long

after he was gone.

6. Conclusion

Clothes of all kinds,

cloth and fabric

cover our skin

but they cannot cover

what lies beneath.

They cannot cover

our hearts.

Exodus 28:29

Translation #1

(29) Aaron shall carry the names of the children of Israel on the breastpiece of decision over his heart, when he enters the sanctuary, for remembrance before the LORD at all times. (30)

Translation from Sefaria


PS It was brought to my attention that soon it will be Valentine's Day. I guess that this would also be an appropriate to celebrate love emanating from our hearts!

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